Pundit Wire

Author Archives: Hal Gordon

Who will bake my wedding cake?

gay wedding cakeI am a freelance speechwriter. I advertise on the Internet: www.ringingwords.com.

Suppose someone contacts me and asks me to write him a speech in favor of a proposition to which I am totally opposed. I decline as a matter of conscience. The other person says, “The heck with your conscience. You offer your services to the whole public on the Internet. You have no right to discriminate against any potential client because of your personal beliefs. If you don’t write my speech, I will take you to court and force you to do so.”

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“What essential right can you deny to an alien?”

Portrait_of_William_Bourke_CockranTo celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, this post will honor the memory of a neglected Irish-American statesman and orator: William Bourke Cockran (1854-1923).
Cockran was born in Country Sligo, Ireland. He emigrated to America at age 17, settling in New York. There, he became a successful lawyer, a member of Congress, and a friend and confidant of some of the leading men of the time, including inventor Thomas Edison, publisher Joseph Pulitzer and Presidents Grover Cleveland and Teddy Roosevelt. He also became known as America’s greatest living orator. (No less a rhetorical titan than Winston Churchill would call Cockran his “model.”)

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Posted in Culture, General, History, International, Political Rhetoric, Politics, Race & Ethnicity, U.S. | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Worse than a crime…”

Tom_Cotton_113th_CongressCurrent calls to prosecute the 47 Republican senators who signed the “Open Letter to the Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran” under the Logan Act are just so much hot air.

The Logan Act reads as follows: “Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

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The True Believer, Revisited

15916The New York Times ran a front page article on February 18, chronicling the lives of three Egyptian youths, one of whom turned jihadist and went to fight for ISIS in Syria.

The three young men were friends. All of them came from middle-class backgrounds. All of them were devout Muslims, and all of them struggled to square the strictures of puritanical Islam with the attractions of the secular world—in particular, the sexual impulses they shared as normal young men. All of them had difficulty finding work in Egypt’s uncertain economy, and all of them were disillusioned when Egypt’s army took power and suppressed the militant Islamic Brotherhood.

Photo: Harper & Brothers

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Guerrilla Warfare Against Gay Marriage

imagesThe chief justice of the state of Alabama, Roy S. Moore, has ordered the state’s probate judges to defy a federal district court ruling and refuse to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The result is that some judges in Alabama are issuing licenses and some are not. The confusion may continue until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of gay marriage in June.

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Booker T. Washington’s “Atlanta Compromise” Speech

Booker_T_Washington_retouched_flattened-cropFebruary is Black History Month, so my post today is devoted to a notable speech by the great civil rights leader, Booker T. Washington.

The date was September 18, 1895. The occasion was the Cotton States and International Exhibition in Atlanta, Georgia. The organizers of the event wanted to impress visiting Northerners with the progress of race relations in the South. So Washington, the founder of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, was invited to speak at the opening ceremonies.

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Churchill After Fifty Years

Sir_Winston_S_ChurchillWinston Churchill died fifty years ago on January 24, 1965. I was 17 at the time, and have vivid memories of watching his funeral on television.

To mark this anniversary of his passing, I’m reading The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History by rising British political star Boris Johnson. Like Churchill himself, Mr. Johnson—currently mayor of London—is a journalist turned politician, which gives him added insight into his subject, as does his own reputation for flamboyance.

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The Christmas Truce at 100

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 2.43.26 PMThe story has been told many times. (photo: Sainsbury)

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